DCN ARCHIVES

October 19, 2010

SWEENY STERLING FINLAYSON & CO. ARCHITECTS

The AeroCentre V includes five levels of office floors sitting on top of a three-level above-ground parking garage.

AeroCentre V in Mississauga, Ontario a new breed of suburban office development

A striking example of the adage about necessity being the mother of invention, the recently completed 225,000-square-foot AeroCentreV in Mississauga may be at the vanguard of an entirely new trend in suburban office development.

At least that is what project architect John Gillanders of Sweeny Sterling Finlayson & Co. Architects Inc. believes. Designed by the Toronto-based firm and built by construction manager Vanbots, the building includes five levels of office floors with dual-core slab plates, which sit on top of a three-level above-ground parking garage.

That form of construction traditionally hasn’t been the norm in suburban areas where abundant and relatively inexpensive land — compared to downtown sites — has spawned the prolific development of surface or adjacent deck parking, says Gillanders.

That wasn’t possible at the AeroCentre V site which is located in the Airport Corporate Centre just south of the Pearson International Airport. In fact, it wasn’t originally supposed to be built at all, he says.

The curtainwall-clad, reinforced structure derives its name because it’s the fifth and final part of a campus of buildings developed and owned by the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP).

It was only a few years ago when the agency began to notice a surface parking lot serving the first four structures was only partially used. That observation sparked the realization the lot had potential infill redevelopment possibilities, he says.

There was, however, no land for a traditional surface parking area somewhere else and constructing an underground garage would have been prohibitive in a suburban setting, says Gillanders, in explaining the genesis of the design.

The innovative solution was to erect the building over the three-level parking structure which has “wings” extending beyond the office component.

While most of the garage and the office component were built with cast-in place concrete, the wings were fashioned from pre-cast concrete to speed construction.

“We won the competition,” he says, when asked about HOOPP’s initial reaction to the design proposal.

Some of the design and construction dynamics of the project include the installing two independent office lobbies with elevators and stairways at the perimeter of the building to “free up space and be more efficient.”

The floors can easily accommodate an array of different tenants and, in fact, PepsiCo recently signed on to be the lead tenant, he explains.

Describing the AeroCentreV as a community asset that rejects traditional building and parking patterns, Gillanders also cites its long list of environmental and energy-efficient features.

Included in that list are exterior sun shades on the south and west sides, light shelves which reflect sunlight deep into the offices and manually operated diffusers in the floor tiles.

Expected to attain a 50-per cent energy savings of the National Model Energy Building Code for comparable buildings, the building was targeted to LEED Silver certification.

“But at this time the design has achieved enough points for a Gold submission.”

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